My Insurance Carrier Didn’t Authorize the Referral of My Doctor: What Should I Do Now?
When dealing with a workers’ compensation case, we often hope that everything follows procedure: that we can read attorney’s blogs and find step-by-step online “How to File for Workers’ Compensation” guides and that everything will work out fine. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible. Sometimes things don’t always go according to plan.
What should you do if your insurance carrier fails to authorize the referral of your treating doctor? When you find yourself in this scenario, chances are you’re in need of additional medical treatment or medication, and waiting around isn’t really an option. However, there are steps you can take to get the treatment you need.
- An attorney can secure additional treatment and authorization of further medical care from the Industrial Commission in an expedited hearing or in an emergency hearing, depending on how dire the situation is.
- You can get your own care and then ask the Commission to authorize it.
Recently we helped one of our clients deal with this situation. We advised them to take option two and encouraged them to seek their own medical care when the carrier did not authorize it in a timely manner. As it happened, instead of going to litigation, the insurance company agreed to the doctor that they selected. It can be difficult to know what to do in situations like this, so we recommend seeking advice from an experienced attorney.
If the insurance carrier does not approve of your doctor, be sure to contact an experienced attorney. There are steps you can take to ensure that your rights are protected.
Is My Case Worth a Million Bucks?
Dealing with a work injury and workers’ compensation can be a long, painful process. It would be a lot less painful if there was $1,000,000 waiting for you at the end of it, right? In reality, a million-dollar settlement might not be as wonderful as you’re imagining. Because workman’s compensation doesn’t account for pain and suffering, there are certain factors that come into play for awards to come even close to seven digits.
- The worker who is recovering must have had a high compensation rate. Workers that make above $70,000 will be entitled to the highest compensation rate allowed by the Industrial Commission. They will also have to be awarded close to the allotted 500 weeks of work to make it significant.
- There must be near-catastrophic medicals projected. Basically, the medications and procedures prescribed will need to be expensive and ongoing. The need for continued care will both bring up the cost of medical expenses and prevent the worker from returning to any kind of work.
- The injury requires a form of attendant care. If this happens, the workers’ compensation carriers are required to pay skilled nurses or family members to help care for the injured worker if they need attention at home. This is generally very expensive and will account for a huge chunk of that $1,000,000.
While it might seem like getting a $1,000,000 settlement would be great, the reality is that most of that money will be going towards medical expenses, not your pocket. However, if your case is worth $1,000,000, we absolutely want to make sure that you’re getting the money that’s owed to you. In fact, we have a great deal of experience working these kinds of cases. No matter the extent of your injuries, you deserve fair compensation.
A lot of the money earned in a workers’ comp case goes towards medical expenses, which is why it’s important that you’re receiving fair compensation. If you’ve been injured at work, contact one of our attorneys for a free consultation.
Workplace Deaths in 2016
Every year, North Carolina keeps track of how many workplace deaths occur. The hope is to look at what went wrong and try to prevent future deaths from occurring. Of the 48 statewide workplace deaths that happened in 2016, two of them occurred in Forsyth County.
One was a roofer who fell from a roof. The other was an operator at a construction site whose equipment had overturned.
Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry says it’s awful to hear about falls, struck-bys and other kinds of accidents that can often be prevented with proper safety training and personal protective equipment.
It’s important to make sure you’re always following proper safety guidelines while at work. Statistics show that construction is the most dangerous type of work; manufacturing came in second. Simple things such as wearing a hardhat and other protective gear can go a long way in ensuring your safety.
Should the worst happen and you or a loved one suffer from a fatal workplace accident, know that you or your dependents are entitled to workers’ compensation. Dependents may be entitled to 500 weeks of pay at ⅔ of the deceased employee’s weekly pay.
Dealing with the loss of a loved one is difficult no matter the circumstances, but dealing with a workers’ compensation case on top of everything else can make an already awful situation exponentially worse. If you find yourself in this situation, be sure to contact an attorney at Oxner + Permar. We can help guide you through this process and take some of the stress out of a very difficult time.
If you have any questions about a wrongful death case or need guidance on how to proceed, be sure to contact an experienced attorney at Oxner + Permar for a free consultation.
What Happens When Uniforms Cause Injuries?
I’ve heard a lot of different opinions about uniforms. Some workers don’t enjoy wearing them: They say they’re not comfortable or that they lack individuality. One client mentioned to me that they didn’t like their uniform because it was just plain ugly. Other people love their uniforms: They say they’re comfy, that they make them look professional, or that it allows them to not have to think about what to wear. Regardless of how you feel about uniforms, we can all agree that none of us want our uniforms to make us sick.
Unfortunately, that’s what seems to be happening with American Airlines’ new uniforms. The airline company rolled out their new uniforms in September to more than 70,000 employees. Since then there are reports that as many as 2,000 employees have complained of sickness. With symptoms such as rashes, itching, headaches, and eye irritation, the union is already calling for a recall of the uniforms.
Although around 350 employees have already filed formal complaints, so far the uniform manufacturer’s response has been to offer uniforms made in different materials. They’re apparently working on a 100% cotton alternative uniform.
While irritation from a uniform may not strike you as something that needs a workers’ compensation claim, this is a type of injury covered by workers’ compensation. If you or someone you know has a uniform-related workers’ compensation claim, don’t hesitate to reach out to us with questions.
If you or someone you know has a uniform-related workers’ comp claim, feel free to give the experienced attorneys at Oxner + Permar a call for a free consultation.
If My Appointed Doctor is Far Away, Do I Have to See Them?
So you’ve been injured at work. You file for workers’ compensation, and you receive a doctor appointed by the insurance company. You’re thinking, “Great! My workers’ compensation process is going smoothly so far!” But then you notice the address of your doctor. They live in Raleigh, and you live in Wilmington. That’s a solid two-hour drive away, possibly longer if there’s a lot of traffic (and let’s face it, there’s probably going to be traffic). Are they allowed to do that? Do you have to see this doctor?
Here’s the thing: The workers’ compensation carrier is allowed to appoint whichever doctor they see fit; however, there are a couple of steps you can take to make this process less of a hassle.
- You can request to see a different doctor. If you appeal to your employer and their insurance company, they may choose to change doctors. If that fails, you can then appeal to the Industrial Commission. They will take your case into consideration and decide whether or not to allow you to change doctors.
- You can seek reimbursement for travel expenses. In some cases, you may have to travel a great distance in order to seek the best care for your injury. In this case, it’s good to know that if you travel more than 20 miles round trip to visit your doctor, you can be reimbursed at a rate of 54 cents per mile. (These rates differ year-by-year. Be sure to find out the rate for the year in which you traveled).
Don’t let the insurance company push you around. If you’re appointed a doctor who lives far away, make sure you are taking the proper steps to receive reimbursement or to be assigned a doctor who is closer. Working with an experienced attorney can help make sure you’re on the right track and that someone is on your side fighting for your rights.
If you’re appointed a doctor whose office is far away from you, there are steps you can take to ensure that your doctor is reassigned or that you’re being reimbursed. Talk to an experienced attorney at Oxner + Permar for a free consultation.